Seungkwan sits in the back of the classroom. He’s quiet, diligent and sometimes snarky. His “desk friend” is quite the opposite. He’s loud, lazy and a little too laid-back. Choi Hansol is almost the personification of Seungkwan’s nightmares and fate has brought them together by the misfortune of alphabetical seating. He knows Hansol, they always sat next to each other growing up because Seungkwan’s surname started with a “B” and Hansol’s started with a “C”. Boo Seungkwan has put up with Choi Hansol’s antics for eleven years and counting and it’s his senior year, so he wants relief.
Relief attempts in the form of suggesting a seat change, random seating specifically, reasoning that they were seniors and deserve it after years of alphabetical assignment. The teacher understands, and with the press of a button, last year’s school pictures of the seniors were juggled around on the screen. The results have Seungkwan convinced the universe is a conspiracy against him and good fortune.
His eyes meet Hansol’s and the boy’s mocking grin, completely aware of Seungkwan’s slight hate toward him and it makes him want to roll his eyes. He sends a fake smile at the other to cover the murderous glint in his eyes and grabs his bag, gripping it tighter than he has to and plops into his seat. Hansol, slides into the seat next to him and bumps their shoulders. “Glad to see you again so soon, partner. I was worried I wouldn’t see you for a while.”
Seungkwan gives him the finger and this time, he does roll his eyes. Hansol’s next comment is interrupted by the teacher’s voice and seconds later, Hansol places a ripped piece of paper on Seungkwan’s desk, messy handwriting reading:
Oh come on Boo. Chill a little won’t you? It’s senior year.
Seungkwan scoffs to himself. He draws a line through Boo and underneath it writes, Seungkwan, then writes out a reply.
Chill is impossible when Choi Hansol is around.
He regrets writing that as soon as he hears Hansol’s snicker beside him.
Are you calling me hot?
Hansol scribbles something and slides over the note but Seungkwan crumples the paper in his hand to tell Hansol he wasn’t interested in talking to him anymore. He’s done it plenty of times, and Hansol never pries any further once the action has been executed. Hansol sticks his tongue out at him and leans back in his seat, arms crossed.
He’s uncharacteristically quiet and sits completely still for the rest of the period and Seungkwan’s actually worried for a few moments until the bell rings and right before Hansol bounds off, he taps Seungkwan on the head, laughing as he rounds the corner at the door. Seungkwan heaves a sigh and drops his forehead on his desk. Here’s to another year with none other than Choi Hansol.
“You’re kidding me.” Jeonghan doesn’t even try to sympathize with Seungkwan when the younger once again rants about Hansol.
Seungkwan frowns. “That was very compassionate.”
Jeonghan shrugs. “What can I say? I’ve known you for nine years and you spent about eight of those complaining about Hansol. I ran out of fucks to give in ninth grade and I’m positive I won’t have anymore anytime soon.”
Seungkwan narrows his eyes at Jeonghan and smacks his lips. “You’re a shitty friend.” Jeonghan hums in agreement. “I know.”
Jihoon, who was approaching the table, notices the only open seat is next to Seungkwan and immediately turns on his heel to head to the opposite side of the cafeteria. Seungkwan deflates but he’s persistent. He nudges Soonyoung with his foot and is left disappointed again when the other promptly shoves his earphones in and closes his eyes. Chan who was heading toward the table is stopped by Jihoon and pulled back by the back of his shirt to sit down with the older. He turns to face Minghao, eyes desperate. Minghao feigns confusion and imitates Jeonghan’s shrug of shoulders to further show his poor grasp on the situation. Seungkwan’s eyes narrow once again and raises his brows, unamused. “You’re pretending you can’t understand me.” Then whispers, “Unbelievable.”
Seungkwan has a long list of things he regrets and somewhere on there is befriending the wrong group of people.
It’s a beautiful day outside but Seungkwan just isn’t feeling it today. Hansol has no sense of personal space and constantly bumps his elbow to Seungkwan’s and earlier, he wouldn’t take his arm off the back of Seungkwan’s chair and there was no way in hell that Seungkwan was going to have physical contact with him if he could avoid it. Hansol decides to casually take a nap in the middle of class that leaves his arms all over Seungkwan’s desk. Needless to say, Seungkwan is already mad enough over the space needed, or lack thereof, for his open textbook and his notebook and he gets even more mad when they have to make room for Hansol’s gangly arms. But then the clouds that were blocking the sun move and Hansol unconsciously frowns, nose scrunching because the sun’s rays are too bright. He looks tired, not like he isn’t getting enough sleep at night but almost as if something has been bothering him for years and he can’t escape from it.
Seungkwan feels a teeny bit bad, so he scoots up in his seat and keeps his back painfully straight for the rest of the lecture to cast a shadow on Hansol’s face.
During gym, Seungkwan is paired up with Hansol as warm-up buddies. They’re tasked with sit ups, and Seungkwan just sits on his heels with his knees on Hansol’s feet to keep them in place, but when Hansol curls up, his body slides back because of the mat and causes Seungkwan to fall forward. His eyes shut in reflex and when he opens them, Hansol’s face is incredibly close to his. He can feel Hansol’s breath fan over his lips and he swears Hansol has a dazed look for a second, but then he realizes this is way too close for his liking and he scrambles back.
They get in trouble for not doing proper sit-ups and are assigned an extra ten seconds, which shouldn’t be too bad but now it’s painfully awkward between the two (or is it just Seungkwan?) and Seungkwan can’t keep his eyes on Hansol for more than two seconds without getting embarrassed again.
On the way to the locker rooms, Hansol nudges Seungkwan’s shoulder with his and murmurs a Sorry. Seungkwan watches Hansol as he keeps walking while he freezes in place. Did he just apologize to Seungkwan? He shakes it off and as he changes, accidentally catches a glimpse of Hansol’s upper torso and swallows. He licks his now dry lips and distracts himself by rummaging through his backpack for chapstick.
The final bell rings after what felt like days to Seungkwan and he packs his bag as fast as he can to get out and not have to face Hansol until first period again tomorrow. He’s in such a hurry that he doesn’t notice the post-it note falling from his bag.
The next day, Hansol is late to class. He’s quiet and it makes Seungkwan feel more awkward than he was already feeling. Seungkwan shifts in his seat and this time, he rips his own piece of precious notebook paper and scrawls a you okay? and passes it to Hansol. He sees Hansol eye it, but he doesn’t reply, just takes it into his hand and shoves it into his pocket. Seungkwan’s eyebrows furrow and he glances at Hansol. He looks sad, a little let-down and dejected.
There are a lot of things that Seungkwan has done that he would never do if it weren’t for Hansol. For example, talking when the teacher is talking. He taps his pencil on Hansol’s desk to catch his attention. “Hey,” He whispers, “are you okay?”
Hansol lifts his eyes to Seungkwan’s and a corner of his lips lift up. “You worried about me, Boo?”
Seungkwan’s worry dissipates at the reply and he scowls, retracting his arm. “Forget that I asked, Choi.”
Hansol grabs Seungkwan’s wrist before he can pull away completely and gives a genuine small smile. “I’m fine.”
Today, Seungkwan takes his time packing up, in a lighter, happier mood and this time doesn’t miss the post-it note on his backpack. In the same familiar handwriting he’s so used to rolling his eyes at, he can’t help but smile at the two words written on the ugly yellow paper.
At some point in their school life, at least everyone, boy or girl, must have been attracted to Hansol for some time, whether it be two years or two minutes, Seungkwan included. It was brief, only for a few weeks. Hansol had stood up for him back in seventh grade when he was struggling with his self-image and was going through a identity crisis. He was scared and Hansol had taken him by the hand away from the ridicule and stood outside the bathroom as Seungkwan cried his heart out in one of the stalls. No one came in but then the bell rang, signalling the start of class and the sound of hesitant footsteps echoed in the bathroom as Hansol came to stand in front of the only occupied stall.
Seungkwan sniffled and unlocked the sorry excuse of a door, putting on a front despite his red and puffy eyes, and nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
Before he could leave, Hansol cleared his throat and said, “I’ll be by your side no matter what.” And it made Seungkwan’s heart race because what the hell was this boy talking about? “You’re Boo and I’m Choi. Don’t forget that.”
Boo Seungkwan, for the first time in his life, turned around and hugged Choi Hansol.
From that day on for the rest of the semester, Seungkwan was hyperaware of his actions and Hansol’s reactions to them. He found everything Hansol did to be attractive. The way he slept, the way his lips parted when he was super concentrated on a lesson (for once), and how he always greeted everyone in class. They slowly went back to how they were before, bickering over the smallest things and Seungkwan realized maybe he only liked Hansol for his actions and not who he was. And it ended there.
Seungkwan can’t really say he could imagine his life without Hansol. Although it would be much less annoying and go much more smoothly if it wasn’t for the boy with the loud voice, weird laugh and cute eyes making himself a main character in Seungkwan’s life story. But Seungkwan can also say that his life wouldn’t be as interesting if it weren’t for the same boy. Hansol’s family went on a vacation for winter break once, and spent an extra week away from school. Seungkwan found the time to be extremely boring and kept glancing over at Hansol’s empty seat, chin resting on his palm and huffing a sigh. It felt weird not having someone poke at his side every few seconds.
So when Hansol doesn’t come to school that Friday, Seungkwan is a little worried, just a little bit. His foot taps on the floor impatiently, figuring maybe that Hansol would stumble into class late, apologizing to the teacher and explaining that he overslept and ignore the snickers of their classmates and head to his seat, smiling at Seungkwan. But first hour passes and Hansol still isn’t there. Then second hour and before he realizes it, it’s time to go home.
He can’t say anything about it to his friends, because they’d pester him about why he wasn’t happy that Hansol wasn’t there for once. Despite his personality, the boy has never missed school unless it was for a vacation. So Seungkwan fishes through the crowd till he finds one of Hansol’s friends, Jeon Wonwoo and asks if he’s seen Hansol today. Wonwoo shakes his head no. “Haven’t seen him since yesterday. I’m surprised he isn’t glued to your side, right now.”
Seungkwan makes a face of disgust, it’s almost natural now, his reaction to Hansol's name. “Okay, well, thanks. If you see him, tell him that Seungkwan hopes he misses a few more days of school so that he can get some peace and quiet.”
Wonwoo looks surprised, but then it disappears and is replaced with something Seungkwan reads as disbelief. “Yeah, okay.”
As Wonwoo walks away, Seungkwan’s chest starts to feel heavier than it ever has in years.
Seungkwan begins to regret his request to Wonwoo made a few days ago, if he ever delivered it, that is. Hansol hasn’t been at school, and Seungkwan has felt unbelievably lonely and finds himself nodding off during class without Hansol’s constant distractions to keep him awake and alert. So he searches for another one of Hansol’s friends and this time finds Jisoo. “Is Hansol okay?”
Jisoo smiles, “He’s a little under the blue. He’ll be okay though. He thinks a few days away from the cause of it will cure his heavy chest.”
Heavy chest? Seungkwan wonders if he’s coming down with the same thing Hansol is too. “Thanks, Jisoo.”
“Anytime, Seungkwan. See you around.”
This time, as Jisoo walks away, Seungkwan fiddles with the note inside his pocket. He pulls it out and smooths out the creases, reading it carefully before taking a deep breath to calm his racing heart and runs to catch up to Jisoo. He’s known Jisoo for a few years, they’re not close, but he trusts that Jisoo won’t read what’s on the paper. “Hyung, do you think you could pass this on to Hansol?”
Boo needs Choi a little more than he thinks.
And just like that, Hansol is back the next day. He grins when he sees Seungkwan, and Seungkwan has to admit, he missed it while it was away. Seungkwan’s chest doesn’t feel nearly as heavy anymore, and he wonders if Hansol is the remedy to his illness.
Throughout the day, Seungkwan can feel eyes burning into the side of his face. Hansol is, as usual, shameless of his actions when caught red-handed and only gives a secret smile in return to Seungkwan’s quizzical expression. It’s already the end of the school day, and Hansol has already left. So Seungkwan looks around the room to make sure it’s empty before taking out a blue post-it note and writing across it neatly in no fancy fashion, just casual and not too big or not too small.
Soon enough, months go by and Seungkwan is one-hundred percent sure that Hansol will never grow out of his antics. It has escalated to arms around the shoulder, brushing of fingers across Seungkwan’s hair to keep them out of the way, walks to the cafeteria together with a hint of arguing, lingering stares during class even more so than usual, replacing his blue pens with a red ink cartridge, more post-it notes and, on Seungkwan’s part, maybe, just maybe, a spark in the heart whenever Hansol smiles at him. It’s something he’s felt before, something similar to the reaction he had whenever he saw Hansol in seventh grade. Maybe it wasn’t, was he crediting it to the wrong memory? He doubts it. Maybe his feelings never really went away and he covered it up with annoyance.
They graduate next week and Seungkwan is more than ready to leave this place. Hansol, however, is a little reluctant. Seungkwan spends the week trying to figure out why and he pieces it together the night after graduation. “Why are you so glum about this? We’re finally going to be adults.” Seungkwan reasons. They’ve grown closer to the point where they meet outside of the school now more often than just walks home together, getting together on the weekend and walking around aimlessly until they figured out what to do.
Hansol shrugs. “I just might be leaving something really special behind.” He looks up at the sky. They’re outside on the rooftop of Seungkwan’s house, gazing at the darkening sky and emerging shining stars.
Seungkwan raises a brow. “And if that something leaves you if you stay?”
“Either way it’s still my loss.” For the first time, Hansol’s smile isn’t as bright as the sun. “I had a lot of time to make it mine but it never worked.”
Seungkwan scoffs. “So you’re just going to give up?”
He nods, fingers fiddling together. “I spent years trying.”
“Did you try hard enough?”
“It’s something personal. It was so close but so far.” Hansol laughs, “It sounds kind of cheesy but it’s true. So now it’s time to let go and see what else this world has for me.”
Seungkwan lays down on the roof and looks at Hansol from behind, hoping that whatever it was that Hansol wanted, he would get it. The boy deserves more than he’s credited and Seungkwan had only realized that after getting to know Choi Hansol all together, not just Choi and Hansol separately. He really does hope Hansol gets it, so he voices it out loud. “Whatever it is,” Seungkwan starts, voice quiet. “I hope you’re able to make it yours.”
Hansol turns to look down at Seungkwan and smiles, eyes twinkling in the darkness. “Wanna know what it is?”
Seungkwan sits up. “Are you going to tell me?”
Hansol beckons him closer with the crook of a finger, eyes carrying that same message Seungkwan could never decipher whenever Hansol looks at him. Seungkwan inches closer, first scooting over and then craning his neck forward to move his ear closer to Hansol’s lips. “Do you really want to know?”
Seungkwan turns to look at him, faces just as close as it had been at the beginning of the school year, but this time, Seungkwan doesn’t pull away even if it feels like his heart will soon beat its way out of his body. He nods, blood pulsing in his ears.
Hansol smiles and whispers, “You.”
Then Seungkwan’s world stops spinning, coming to a complete stop for a few seconds before it slowly starts spinning faster and faster. His head wraps around the words the same way his arms wrap around Hansol because the spinning is making him lean toward the other, and by the time the revolutions are at its peak, it tumbles off its axis and Seungkwan takes this chance to crash his lips against Hansol’s in attempt at restabilization.
It hurts but it’s sweet and as Hansol’s hands pull him closer by the waist, Seungkwan begins to crave his touch because his world hasn’t come down from its high yet and it’s already been too long, he's addicted. He scrapes his knee against the rough surface of the roof as he scrambles to push Hansol down to press their bodies together and that’s when he’s assured that Hansol needs him just as much, if his palpating heart means anything.
Seungkwan’s lungs burn for air and he pulls away, breathing heavily. Hansol’s lips are glossy and pink and Seungkwan leans in for one soft peck on the mouth and stares in awe, settling his bottom on Hansol’s hips, hands on his chest. “It was really me?” He whispers.
Hansol nods. “It’s only ever been you. The post-it notes, the smiles, the stares. I never did that to anyone else. Remember the first day of school? When you crumbled the piece of paper?” Seungkwan thinks back to that day and tilts his head to ask why. “Did you ever read what I wrote on there?”
Seungkwan sits up, and swings his leg to get up and hurry off of the roof. He jumps down the few feet to the ground and doesn’t stop to explain to Hansol. He runs into the house, up the stairs and to his room. He opens the drawer and pulls out the box, rummaging through the many yellow post-it notes. They’re in order, from the day he got them, starting from the beginning of this year. He takes off the binder clip and takes the very bottom one and unfolds it eyes falling right to the last line of the note he never read.
I like you.
Seungkwan’s eyes start to tear and turns as Hansol enters his room. His eyes flicker from Seungkwan’s crying face to the paper and his mouth opens slightly in shock and laughs in disbelief. “You kept them all?”
All Seungkwan can do is nod, laughing at himself. “I don’t know why I did but everyday, I’d come home and put them in my drawer. I never bothered to read them again.”
“You know, every time I’d write those same three words you’d crumple the post-it note in your hand.” Hansol takes Seungkwan’s hands and tugs him forward. “I was more than sure that it was supposed to be a sign of some sort. But I didn’t want it to be.”
By now, Seungkwan is crying and he can’t help but feel absolutely shitty. He starts to hiccup out some excuses, lame ones, and weakly punches Hansol when he pulls him to his chest and presses a kiss to his forehead.
“Hey, it doesn’t matter, does it? Look at us now.” Hansol tilts his head up by lifting his chin with a finger and again, leans close. “Close your eyes.”
Seungkwan does as told and feels an arm wrap around his waist, pulling them flush against each other. “Boo Seungkwan, will you tolerate Choi Hansol’s laziness, awkwardness, loudness-”
“Oh for god’s sake, shut up, Hansol.” Seungkwan blindly reaches out for the lapels of Hansol’s button up and yanks him forward. “Yes, I’ll be your damn boyfriend.” He mumbles, eyes still closed, lips still against Hansol’s, chest still pressed to his boyfriend’s. And in that moment, as Seungkwan stands in Hansol’s embrace, he finally realizes that Hansol wasn’t lying. The looks Seungkwan could never decipher? They were looks of fondness and appreciation, gratitude and protection, something that would only sparkle in his eyes when looking at Seungkwan. The subtle gestures of affection Hansol made toward Seungkwan; wordlessly tying his shoe for him, staying after school with him for hours just to walk him home, carrying his backpack for him when he broke his leg, quiet whispers of encouragement before tests, and dropping snacks in front of him when he’s hunched over his desk studying.
Choi Hansol is nothing Boo Seungkwan has ever wanted but becomes everything he’ll ever need.